Listening to the Silence


A little while ago I was on a plane, listening to some music, and really wished that I had a track called ‘Silence’, which would just play Silence into my ears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the sound of children’s laughter, but sometimes nothing sounds better than Silence.

In the Silence, I can hear myself. I can hear the bit that knows, but that gets drowned out by the bit that thinks. We have to be still and quiet to listen to that part of ourselves, and often it’s really difficult when we’re surrounded by noise, even if it’s enjoyable noise, all the time.

I’m the classic person who likes to play music all the time. Be it Beyonce or Krishna Das, Run the World (GIRLS!) or Om Namah Shivaya, I like to have music on. When walking, when pottering around, when getting dressed, even when showering. I love to cover up the infinite Silence with pretty sounds.

Sometimes this is great, losing yourself in music is amazing. But sometimes, I use it as a distraction. There’s something a bit intimidating about deep and expansive Silence. Yet, Silence is something that we all need.

In the Silence we can just be. We can relax. Thoughts can arise, and then disappear like figures on a screen. We can hear ourselves, we can hear what we want, what we need, what’s bothering us, what we’re moved to do.

Silence is the mother of sound. It’s always there, just underneath the noise. All sound arises from and then returns to Silence. When it’s too noisy, we feel that the Silence has been lost. But it’s always there. In the same way that the sky can be covered by clouds, Silence can be covered by noise, but none the less remains a constant presence.

We’re a lot like the sky. Can you imagine the sky thinking it’s a cloud? It sounds absurd that the huge, vast sky would believe itself to be a tiny, transitory cloud.  We are the sky, or the Silence that thinks it’s a cloud or some noise, forgetting that the cloud and noise exist within what we are.

Thoughts will come and go. Some are more persistent, or recognised than others. But they all arise within something far vaster and more real than they are. If we can stay with the Silence, or be the sky, then thoughts become clouds that just come and go.

We might not want them to be there, but we know that we are not them. And that makes it easier to address them. We know that we are not this thought, and therefore have lose nothing when we let go of it.

It has less charge, less pull. It becomes an occurrence, rather than we are. We perceive it, rather than identifying with it.

What we hear, and how we perceive Life, depends on where we put our attention. If we put our attention into the noise, of course that’s what we’ll hear. We’ll hear babies crying, alarms going off, people having animated conversations and the world will feel like a noisy and overwhelming place, full of thoughts and issues that all demand our immediate attention.

But if we can put, and keep, our attention in the Silence, then we can hear ourselves as we truly are. We can see Life arising and then returning. We can relax. We can be.


About Jade Doherty

Oh my, 'about mes' are harder than they look! Hello, I'm Jade. Having been intrigued by this whole blog thing for a while I thought I'd give it a go. You can expect some sarcasm, mixed with some self-depreciation and, if we're lucky, topped off some interesting things to ponder. As my interests are pretty eclectic, it's likely that this blog will be too. My main interests are self inquiry, reading, Philosophy, watching crime TV shows that make me feel clever, football, looking at pretty pictures. Oh who am I kidding, my main interest is myself! So this blog will be about me, although I'm sure I'll find more subtle and refined ways to be self-indulgent! As a retired over-achiever, I'm trying to find what I enjoy, rather than what I'm good at. So far this includes drinking copious amounts of tea, having a laugh and writing. So get comfy, make yourself at home, and enjoy perusing my musings! xx

3 responses »

  1. just recently i started noticing how NOISY the world is. How we seek to constantly be distracted. I’ve started driving with the radio off. Just listening to the hum of the engine and the melody of my breath. Silence can be a powerful friend if we welcome it in ❤

    • Thanks Thais for linking to this great post!

      My car radio broke a couple of years ago, and I never got it fixed – for the same reason that it’s the only time I am somewhat shielded from the noises of the outside world (my apartment is on a busy street and can be VERY loud).

      I find that silence for me can be one of the hardest things to find though, and when I let up on my practice of “going there”, the noise is ready and waiting to flood in.

      Thank you for the reminder to fill my ears with sweet, soothing silence as often as I can!

      • Hello lovely ladies,

        Thank you for your comments, and thanks Thais for linking this post to your (fabulous) blog.

        The world is SO noisy! It’s amazing how many things there are trying to grab our attention.

        How lovely that your car is forcing you to be in the Silence. Once the whole mind-chat relaxes a bit of sweet silence is a lovely friend!


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